The United Nations has voiced alarm over the “destructive impact” of the deadly wars on children’s education in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), saying violence has forced at least 13 million kids out of schools there.
In a report released on Thursday on threats to the education system in six violence-torn countries and territories across the region, the United Nation’s children fund UNICEF warned that “the hopes of a generation” would be dashed should kids fail to return to classrooms in conflict zones of both regions.
Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Palestinian territories in the Middle East as well as Sudan and Libya in North Africa were the main countries the report focused on.
Over 8,850 schools are no longer usable due to the ongoing political instability and violence, said the report.
Peter Salama, the regional director for UNICEF in the MENA region, told AFP that “the destructive impact of conflict is being felt by children right across the region.”
“It’s not just the physical damage being done to schools, but the despair felt by a generation of schoolchildren who see their hopes and futures shattered,” he added.
According to the UN, one in four schools was closed this school year due to violence.
“Even those Syrian teachers who have ended up as refugees in other countries have faced obstacles which prevent them from working,” said the report, adding more than 52,000 teachers have left their posts.
UNICEF said that violence in Iraq has taken a heavy toll on the schooling of at least 950,000 children.
Iraq and Syria have been grappling with a spike in violence fueled by Takfiri terror groups, particularly Daesh, which controls swathes of land in both Arab states.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Saudi military has been pounding neighboring Yemen with fatal air raids over the past five months. Civilians as well as the country’s infrastructure have been the main target of Riyadh’s strikes.
The Saudi military campaign has led to the closure of hundreds of schools and colleges in Yemen since late March, according to the report.
UNICEF also said over 280 schools had been damaged and eight “completely destroyed” in the Tel Aviv regime’s 2014 war on the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip that left over 2,200 people dead.
In Libya, which is suffering from rising violence after the 2011 overthrow of former dictator Moamar Qaddafi, more than half of those displaced say their children cannot attend classes, while the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur and South Kordofan has also had a severe impact on the country’s creaking school infrastructure, the report said.
In the first part of a series, Brandon Martinez of Non-Aligned Media unravels the murky origins of ISIS and unveils how the group’s meteoric rise in Iraq and Syria is a continuation of US psychological warfare designed to facilitate the Zionist-Neocon agenda of toppling seven sovereign Middle Eastern and North African States.
They won’t anyway and it will cost us much more
There are a lot of expressions about standing up to bullies being the best policy. Unfortunately the White House has difficulty in following that sound advice when it comes to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his governing coalition of racists and thugs. And one might also add that the reticence also applies to dealing with Israel’s many friends in Congress, some of whom have apparently extorted their pound of flesh in exchange for their votes on the Iran deal.
Israel is already the military colossus in the Middle East, with formidable high tech ground, sea and air forces backed up by a semi-secret nuclear arsenal with modern delivery systems and several defensive missile system referred to as Iron Dome, Arrow 4 and David Sling. The defense systems were developed and deployed using $3 billion of U.S. Treasury special “grants” while roughly 20% of Israel’s annual total defense budget comes directly from the American taxpayer. This is all justified on the basis of sustaining Israel’s “Qualitative Military Edge,” an expression that has its own acronym QME and that is much loved by America’s national legislators, the White House and the media. In reality, Israel possesses an enormous military superiority relative to all its neighbors combined and has benefited from that capability for many years, all thanks to the United States of America.
But for some, too much is never enough. President Barack Obama is struggling to line up sufficient Democratic votes to block any congressional veto of his Iran agreement. At this point it looks like he will succeed, but the effort has brought with it the type of backstage politicking that most Americans have come to despise. Both Netanyahu and select Congressmen are being treated to a package of bribes for Israel that defies all reason, particularly given the fact that even the Israeli defense and intelligence establishments have split with Bibi’s government and sensibly declared the agreement with Iran to be better than any alternative. So even though defanging Iran is good for Israel, Washington nevertheless feels compelled to sweeten the pot, with actual American interests as usual ignored or not even considered.
How it all works has been revealed by Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, who apparently has seen a copy of a personal letter from President Obama that was sent to Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a representative from New York who was hesitating over how to cast his vote regarding Iran. Nadler’s district is reported to be heavily Jewish and the congressman, himself Jewish, has long been an outspoken advocate for Israel. The letter he received may have been similar or even identical to letters presumably sent to other Congressmen who have also been sitting on the fence over the Iran deal.
Obama, to give him his due, cleverly focuses on “our enhanced support for Israel” as the way to get to Nadler’s vote, thereby enabling the Congressman to cite what Israel will be getting out of it as he explains to his angry constituents why he is defying the call by Netanyahu to vote down the deal.
President Obama, boasting in the letter that “no administration has done more for Israel’s security than mine,” adds that he is “prepared to further strengthen the relationship.” Indeed he does. He commits the United States to extend the U.S. commitment to provide Israel with $3.5 billion per year for purchasing military equipment for an additional decade after the current George W. Bush era program expires in 2018. The letter notes a “unique element” in the purchase agreement which allows Tel Aviv to spend up to 26.3% of the money on Israeli manufactured equipment.
Beyond the $3 billion plus per annum, Obama also pledged to continue extra funding for “collaborative research and development for tunnel detection and mapping technologies,” a program that only benefits Israel. Israel will also be the only country in the Middle East to receive the new advanced F-35 fighter when it finally becomes operational next year, all paid for by the American taxpayer.
Apart from the fact that the United States is inexplicably giving billions to an Israel that has a thriving economy with Western European levels of income, there are a number of problems with this Obama deal and the nature of the “special relationship” that it represents. For Washington, Israel is the squeaking wheel that is constantly requiring applications of grease to keep quiet. The grease is liberally applied, but the wheel keeps squeaking, the noise generally emanating from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been directly interfering in U.S. politics since 2012.
One problem is that the United States is allowing Israel to use the money to be armed and equipped in a fashion which is directly contrary to American interests. A May offering of $1.88 billion in new equipment to Israel included 50 BLU-113 5,000 pound bombs with special penetrating nose cones that can be used against underground targets. Those targets would include Iran’s nuclear facilities, most notably its Fodrow underground uranium enrichment plant. Israel’s friends have also been agitating for the much larger 30,000 pound version of the bomb together with the heavy bombers needed to drop it on target. If past history is anything to go by it is merely a matter of time before they are granted their wish.
Bombing Iran is not exactly a U.S. interest at the moment – quite the contrary. Is it far-fetched to imagine Netanyahu staging such an attack to upset the apple cart and destroy any chance of Iranian rapprochement with Washington? A month ago I would have said no, but last week former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed that both he and Netanyahu did indeed want to bomb Iran in 2010-2012 but backed down because of technical issues and also due to the refusal of key cabinet members and military officers to support the decision.
A second problem is the authorization for Israel to spend American taxpayer money on equipment produced locally. Israel is a major weapons supplier worldwide, sometimes both selling and providing training to regimes that many consider unsavory. Its own military industrial complex was built up using the largesse coming from the United States and it now competes with American companies. It also has a well-established record of stealing United States developed military technology and then re-exporting it under its own label, a win-win for Israel but a lose-lose for American companies.
While I am far from a fan of America’s military industrial congressional complex, using American tax dollars to subsidize a foreign competitor is the height of insanity. It will cut into exports and cost American jobs. Combining that reality with the fact that no amount of bribery will make Netanyahu shut up and that Israel will likely use some of the gifted weapons in ways that will cause difficulties for Washington the constant introduction of more money and more arms for Israel is just not a good idea. Kudos to Obama for having proceeded as far as he has with the Iran agreement but if a Congressman from New York cannot for once perceive that a deal is good for America he should resign his seat and go home. Constantly playing the Israel card has not been good for politics in the United States and it has also not been good for Israel itself as well as for the Middle East region. It is time to cut the tie that binds.
If Congress derails the hard-won “P+5” nuclear deal with Iran, much blame will fall to powerful New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the first Senate Democrat to join the partisan Republican congressional majority in opposing President Obama’s landmark foreign policy achievement.
Schumer’s insistence on maintaining economic sanctions against Iran supports the undisguised neoconservative agenda of regime change in Iran. Critics of Schumer’s position have demonstrated that his arguments against the deal are disingenuous and misleading. So were his arguments for regime change in Iraq, starting with his bogus claim that Saddam Hussein’s “vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons” made him a “terrible danger to the people to the United States.”
Less well known is the fact that Schumer began almost a quarter century ago to push dubious arguments for aggressive regime change in the Middle East to serve the interests of Israeli hard-liners. His focus then was on Syria, led by Hafez Assad, the father of today’s president. And the issue, then as now, was framed around economic sanctions.
In 1990, Israeli officials and their American allies confronted a potential crisis: a thaw was developing in U.S.-Syrian relations under President George H. W. Bush. That spring, Damascus won Washington’s gratitude by obtaining the release of two American hostages held in Lebanon. Later, Syria earned major credit as one of three Arab nations to commit troops to the multinational coalition in the first Gulf War. In November 1991, following the coalition victory, Syria attended a U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace forum in Madrid and announced its willingness to negotiate a settlement with Israel.
Washington rewarded Assad by granting him a meeting with President Bush, the first between the two countries’ heads of state in 13 years. Syria continued its diplomatic offensive by releasing thousands of political prisoners and providing exit permits to Syrian Jews wishing to emigrate to Israel.
Israel and its close allies — including Schumer — fought back by trying to implicate Syria in one of the most emotionally loaded issues of the day: drug trafficking. As one American official observed at the time, “It is in the Israelis’ interest to spin the drugs claim in order to keep Syria on the U.S. State Department list of countries involved in drug trafficking.”
As I describe in my book The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic, no one questioned the fact that large amounts of drugs were cultivated in and shipped out of Syrian-occupied lands in Lebanon in the 1980s. At the time, during the height of the Lebanese civil war, Syrian troops occupied a section of Lebanon that included the fertile Beka’a Valley, a region long notorious for growing cannabis and opium poppies. Syria had been invited into Lebanon in 1976 by a Christian-led government to help maintain peace on terms favorable to the country’s Christian population.
The Reagan administration invoked a section of the Foreign Assistance Act to bar aid to Syria on grounds that it failed to cooperate fully with the United States in the war on drugs. But after President George H. W. Bush took office, State Department and Drug Enforcement Administration officials stated that they had no evidence that Syrian forces were running drugs as a matter of state policy, although some individual commanders were corrupt.
Their agnosticism riled Israeli officials and their U.S. allies. In 1990, the American adviser to the Israeli mission at the United Nations, writing in The Washington Post, lamented that “Washington ignores Syrian complicity in the drug trade,” which he claimed was being directed by “the inner circle of Syria’s government.” Later, pro-Israeli sources such as the controversial “terrorism expert” Steven Emerson and Michael Widlanski, who would become a “strategic affairs adviser” to the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, launched a major publicity campaign to implicate Syria’s regime in drug trafficking.
The same campaign included an undocumented but searing public indictment of Syria issued in December 1992 at the request of Rep. Charles Schumer by the Democratic staff of the House Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, which he chaired. The report, which was not endorsed by the full committee, had a partisan as well as an anti-Syria slant, as suggested by its title: “Syria, President Bush, and Drugs: The Administration’s Next Iraqgate.”
Schumer’s political indictment declared that the Bush administration “simply refuses to admit the extent to which drug corruption has been institutionalized in the Syrian military forces now occupying Lebanon.” Without specific evidence, it claimed that the Syrian government and military were collecting upward of a billion dollars a year “from those who seek to peddle their poison in the United States.”
Based on Syria’s “continued support of terrorist groups based in Lebanon,” its “repeated attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction” and “its persistent involvement with known drug traffickers,” the report insisted that “Syria has the capacity to become as great a threat to American interests in the Middle East as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq ever was.”
It added, with a nod to the Bush administration’s invasion of Panama to oust the Noriega regime in late 1989, “The Justice Department must prosecute not only ‘corrupt, crooked and rotten cops’ from Panama, but also the unscrupulous Syrian generals who conspire to put dope on American streets.”
Such inflammatory language foreshadowed Schumer’s rhetoric about Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The charge of Syrian military complicity had at least some substance, in that some commanders undoubtedly had unclean hands. But more credible authorities than Schumer pointed out that Syria actually had limited control over the portions of Lebanon that it occupied and thus had chosen not to provoke further armed conflict by cracking down on heavily armed drug clans. In much the same way, NATO forces in Afghanistan consciously decided not to eradicate opium fields for fear of driving peasants into the arms of the Taliban.
As President Assad himself told an interviewer in 1993, “our real fear was for our soldiers, who live among the people in Lebanon where drugs have for a very long time been a source of income.” In the Beka’a Valley, he said, Syria had intervened “to solve a political problem and end the civil war,” not to “chase smugglers.” Nonetheless, he maintained, Syria was helping Lebanon to eradicate drugs, though “of course smuggling is something which continues.”
Assad’s efforts bore fruit. The State Department reported in 1996, six years after the end of the civil war, that Lebanon had worked a near miracle against drug production with Syria’s help:
“Lebanon appears to have won the fight against illicit crop cultivation to the joint Lebanese-Syrian eradication efforts since 1992. There appears to be no cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis (for hashish production) has all but disappeared. . . The joint Syrian-Lebanese effort since 1992 to eradicate the cultivation of cannabis and opium in the Beka’a Valley is a significant accomplishment which has been confirmed by a variety of sources.”
Despite tough lobbying by Israel, the Clinton administration removed Syria from the State Department’s list of major drug producers in late 1997. Chuck Schumer’s attempt to destroy bilateral relations with Syria using the drug issue had failed.
However, efforts by Israeli hardliners and U.S. neoconservatives to derail warming relations with Syria succeeded once again after George W. Bush took office. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess.”] We are today living with the ghastly human and economic costs of their violent efforts to “remake the map of the Middle East.”
The Iran nuclear deal offers the first clear opportunity in years to shift U.S. policy toward a more constructive and peaceful role in the region. To make that possible, the American people must repudiate the latest round of fear-mongering by Schumer and fellow hawks.
A US MQ-9 Reaper assassination drone
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who is seeking Democratic nomination for the 2016 US presidential election, says he will continue the Pentagon’s assassination drone program.
In an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Sanders said that he would limit the use of US terror drones, but said that he would not end the targeted killing campaign.
“I think we have to use drones very, very selectively and effectively. That has not always been the case,” Sanders said.
“What you can argue is that there are times and places where drone attacks have been effective,” he added.
“There are times and places where they have been absolutely counter-effective and have caused more problems than they have solved. When you kill innocent people, what the end result is that people in the region become anti-American who otherwise would not have been,” said the junior senator from Vermont.
Since 2001, the United States has been carrying out drone attacks in several countries, including Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.
The aerial attacks were initiated by former US President George W. Bush but have been escalated under President Barack Obama.
Former US drone operator Brandon Bryant, who was involved in the killing of more than 1,600 people, revealed earlier this year that aerial strikes are conducted with complete uncertainty.
Bryant, who worked for almost five years in America’s secret drone program bombing targets in Afghanistan and other countries, such as Pakistan and Iraq, said operators lacked visibility and were not sure about the identity of the people they were shooting at.
“We see silhouette, shadows of people, and we kill those shadows,” he said.
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,
All causes shall give way: I am in blood
Stepped in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
Jeremy Corbyn is a longtime British Labour MP, hitherto little known outside Britain. Following the resignation of Labour leader Ed Miliband, Corbyn is one of four MPs nominated in the leadership contest, currently subject to ballot amongst Party members and supporters until 10 September.
Corbyn has been subject to a tsunami of criticism and abuse since his nomination, providing abundant evidence on the odious character of the current British political establishment and on the farce that is curiously labeled the democratic process.
Moreover, Corbyn, supporter of the Palestinian cause, has experienced full guns blazing from official British Jewry. On 12 August, the Jewish Chronicle broadsided with ‘The key questions that Jeremy Corbyn must answer’. With the emphasis on ‘must’.
Soon after, Jewish Labour MP Ivan Lewis becomes ‘the first senior Labour politician to attack Corbyn’s credentials on anti-Semitism’. And there will be more to come. How could anyone who finds Israel’s actions unacceptable imagine that they had the right to become leader of a major British political Party?
* * *
The treatment of Corbyn by the British Zionist mafia is not novel but redolent of the behavior of the British Zionist machine since its inception. Some insight into this machine can be had from a forgotten book, which a correspondent has alerted me to. The book is Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up, written by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew, published in 1975 (Longman).
Adams (died 2005) was a journalist, Mayhew (died 1997) a Labour MP (later a Liberal) and broadcaster. Both came to be critics of Israel from a position of innocence, product of firsthand experience in their professional capacities. The hostility that they and other critics of Israel experienced on British soil led them to write the book.
The authors draw comfort from Nahum Goldmann, then President of the World Jewish Congress, reported (Jewish Chronicle, 7 June 1974) as claiming:
“… by blindly supporting the mistaken course of Israeli policy and by telling the Israelis only what they wanted to hear, Diaspora Jews had done Israel a disservice.”
Ill-informed (Adams was teaching in cut-off Finland in the late 1940s) and inexperienced, Adams found himself hired as Middle East correspondent for the Manchester Guardian in 1956. He was to remain employed until 1962, but continued to be published there until 1968. With respect to Israel:
“What I saw, in brief, was the fact of injustice; of an injustice which, it seemed, had been knowingly committed and was still being deliberately prolonged; an injustice – worst shock of all – which could be directly traced to a decision taken by a British government. I am speaking, of course, of the injustice done to the Palestinians …”
Adams notes that he could have accepted the past as spilt milk, but for two factors.
“The first of these was the realisation that the world’s ignorance of what had happened and was still happening in Palestine was not accidental: that there were plenty of people about whose primary concern it was to distort and suppress the truth about Palestine without bothering their heads with any concerns about freedom of speech. And the second factor … was the Suez crisis, which it became my duty to observe and report for The Manchester Guardian. It was a decisive experience.”
Then came the Israeli takeover of what was to become the ‘occupied territories’ following the Six Day War of June 1967. For Adams:
“There was a kind of Watergate in action … to protect those who made it their business to defend Israel and to subject to an insidious form of discrimination those who sought to expose the true aims of Israeli policy. Such non-conformists were subtly made aware that their jobs might be at risk, their books unpublishable, their preferment out of the question, their pubic reputations vulnerable, if they did not renounce the heresy of anti-Zionism. And for the most part, the merest flourish of such secret weapons was enough to reduce them to silence.”
The handful of dissenters learned that:
“… the imbalance of public opinion, in this deeply contentious area of foreign politics, was deliberately contrived and painstakingly maintained; and that those who were intent on maintaining it were not above resorting to some very dirty tricks against those who tried, as we were trying, to disturb it. I was to learn this lesson myself the hard way …”
In 1967, Adams, Mayhew and others formed the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding and the Labour Middle East Council. CAABU membership comprised well-credentialled professionals with Middle Eastern experience, but it was derided as an Arab propaganda front. The Labour Middle East Council was denied affiliation with the Labour Party. Mayhew notes:
“… we were startled by the vehemence with which … we were attacked and exposed to insult, and by the extraordinary anonymous letters which we became accustomed to receiving. In some respects these attacks were so bitter and unrestrained as to appear pathological.”
Christopher Mayhew’s first personal brush with Zionism was upon receipt of a letter dated 5 December 1946:
“We are determined this time to squash you British sons of a bitch and we declare war to the finish against the British. For every Jew you stinking British pigs kill in Palestine you will pay a thousandfold in fetid English blood. The [Lahome Herut Israel] has passed sentence of death on the British pig Mayhew. The execution will soon take place by silent and new means.”
At that time, letter bombs were received by several people. One such package was sent to an avowed anti-Zionist Roy Farran, which killed his brother.
Mayhew’s first professional exposure was as Undersecretary for Labour Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin. The Commons, 11 July 1948. It is 8 a.m., after an all night sitting. Mayhew is alone on the Government front bench. The Commons is empty. Save for:
“… behind me, wide awake, well-informed, passionate, articulate and aggressive, would be a group of twenty or thirty pro-Israeli Labour members. Most of them would be Jewish … and also Israel’s most brilliant non-Jewish supporter, Dick Crossman.”
At this ridiculous time, a debate on the recognition of Israel was initiated by a young Labour backbencher. Mayhew replied:
“Has my Honourable Friend ever heard that there is an Arab point of view? … The trouble with my Honourable Friend, as the whole of his speech shows, is that he is not sufficiently in touch with the Arab point of view on the Palestine problem.”
And thus it would be for Mayhew’s entire time in the Commons, harangued, abused, then marginalized. But the early target was Bevin himself, labelled successfully as an anti-Semite. Mayhew again:
“I remember clearly [Bevin’s] dislike of Zionist methods and tactics, and, indeed, of the Zionist philosophy itself. He was passionately and unshakably anti-Zionist. He held that Zionism was basically racialist, that it was inevitably wedded to violence and terror, that it demanded far more from the Arabs than they could or should be expected to accept peacefully, that its success would condemn the Middle East to decades of hatred and violence, and above all … that by turning the Arabs against Britain and the Western countries, it would open a highroad for Stalin into the Middle East. On all these points events proved him right …
“In 1947 and 1948 it was the political pressure on the Labour Cabinet from American Zionists, exerted through the United States government, which angered Bevin the most …. At that time, Britain was dependent on American goodwill for her economic survival [and Truman equally dependent on Zionist goodwill for his campaign funds]. As a consequence, the British government was subject to ruthless pressure from Washington to get the Arabs to accept the Zionists’ demands. It was a disgraceful abuse of power.”
By chance, Mayhew had to meet the US Ambassador, Lou Douglas, by himself. Douglas wanted British assent to admitting a hundred thousand Jewish refugees into Palestine immediately. Mayhew reiterated the government’s position – it was a prescription for war. Douglas then claimed that the President wanted it known that agreement on the intake would help him get the Marshall Aid appropriation through Congress.
“In other words, we must do as the Zionists wished – or starve. Bevin surrendered – he had to – but he was understandably bitter and angry. He felt it outrageous that the United States, which had no responsibility for law and order in Palestine (and no intention of permitting massive Jewish immigration into the United States), should, from very questionable motives, impose an impossibly burdensome and dangerous task on Britain.”
Mayhew’s first visit to the Middle East was in 1953 – as member of a Parliamentary delegation he went to a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. There he saw ‘… the refugee camps not merely as relics of a past war, but as seedbeds of future vengeance’.
Other priorities intervened, but in 1963 Mayhew was a member of an official Labour Party delegation which toured Middle Eastern countries. On that tour, the delegation met then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and other Israeli leaders. He was disgusted by Meir’s mocking and patronizing attitude towards the Palestinians.
“I remembered now where I had heard it before: at parties given by British settlers in Kenya and Tanganyika before those countries gained their independence. It was the tone in which it would be explained to visitors like myself that the African was scatterbrained but essentially a ‘good chap’, loyal (meaning loyal to his white masters) but easily led astray by trouble makers (meaning those of his fellow-Africans who aspired to self-rule).”
Thus did Mayhew develop a commitment to the Palestinian cause. But Mayhew’s answering back to the Israelis had immediate consequences. When Harold Wilson, a zealous Zionist, formed a government the next year in 1964, Mayhew was excluded from the Cabinet after the lobbying against him.
* * *
“The secret of the Zionists’ success has lain in the existence of a large, lively and influential Jewish community in Britain. [In the context of deliberations regarding the Balfour Declaration in 1917, s]upporters of Zionism, whether Jewish or non-Jewish … if they were not in positions of power themselves, they usually had easy access to those who were.”
Mayhew drew on Doreen Ingrams’ Palestine Papers 1917-1922, which highlights that the first drafts of the Balfour Declaration were written under the direction of Zionists (Lord Rothschild and Chaim Weizmann) on Balfour’s invitation. Weizmann had ready access to Balfour. Thus Weizmann to Balfour, 30 May 1918 (from Ingrams):
“The Arabs, who are superficially clever and quick-witted, worship one thing, and one thing only – power and success … The British authorities … knowing as they do the treacherous nature of the Arab, they have to watch carefully and constantly that nothing should happen which might give the Arabs the slightest grievance or ground of complaint. In other words, the Arabs have to be ‘nursed’ lest they should stab the army in the back. … So the English are ‘run’ by the Arabs.”
After the Balfour Declaration’s publication, the government established a special branch for Jewish propaganda in the Foreign office under a Zionist, Albert Hyamson, and a Zionist commission (led by Weizmann) was dispatched to Palestine to facilitate the Zionist agenda.
Mayhew notes the instructiveness of the diaries of Mrs Blanche Dugdale (Balfour’s niece), on ‘the intimacy of the Zionist lobby’s contracts with the Cabinet’, citing a September 1936 entry (p.32). Mayhew concludes:
“What is extraordinary about this extract – and many others in Mrs Dugdale’s revealing diaries – is that she is describing without apology (quite the contrary) a pattern of behaviour which would normally be considered scandalous, if not positively treasonable. A member of the British government was communicating Cabinet secrets to a private individual acting on behalf of a group of foreign nationals [etc] …”
Mayhew notes that the capture of the British Labour Party, even by comparison with the Liberals and Conservatives, has been a remarkable phenomenon.
“By tradition and principle the party was strongly opposed to territorial expansion, colonialism, racialism and military government; yet the Zionist lobby succeeded in committing it to a uniquely close friendship with a foreign government which [failed all these criteria].”
The Labour Party ‘welcomed Zionists most warmly to its ranks and gave the most consistent support to their aims’. Soon after Labour was elected in August 1929, riots broke out in Palestine, driven by the scale and character of Jewish immigration. A subsequent White Paper noted that Britain’s support for Jewish immigration was not formally unconditional. The lobby forced a retreat from Prime Minister MacDonald, following which Jewish immigration into Palestine escalated dramatically.
“In the 1930s and ‘40s the Zionists consolidated their grip on the Labour Party and came completely to control its policy on the Middle East.”
The Party’s National Executive Committee’s 1944 report proposed ‘Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in’, and that Jewish migration prospects might be enhanced by ‘extending the present Palestinian boundaries by agreement with Egypt, Syria or Transjordan’. Mayhew notes that the Labour Party thus ‘took on itself the role of a kind of Zionist fifth column’.
Then to the Attlee government. Professor Harold Laski, ardent Zionist, was chairman of the Party’s National Executive Committee during 1945-46, declaring that he was attempting to organize ‘an internal opposition to fight the Attlee-Bevin betrayal of the Jews’. Add the (much cited) Crossman-Strachey incident. Mayhew reproduces the fragment in Hugh Thomas’ biography of John Strachey. Strachey, Under-Secretary of State for Air and member of the government’s Defence Committee, gave Crossman tacit approval for the Haganah to engage in sabotage. Thus did Haganah blow up the bridges over the Jordan (June 1946?), cutting off the British army from its supply lines. As Mayhew notes:
“Such behaviour by supposedly responsible members of the Labour Party and Government would be inconceivable in any context other than that of Zionism.”
Mayhew neglects to add Thomas’ postscript:
“A few days later, the Foreign Office broke the Jewish Agency code. Crossman was for several days alarmed lest he and Strachey might be discovered.”
And on to the Wilson government, the Prime Minister’s contribution to the Zionist cause being unstinting. On 8 December 1972, the UN General Assembly re-affirmed the UN’s November 1967 Resolution 242 (demanding Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, respect of Palestinian rights, etc). Wilson, in Israel over Christmas, in turn reaffirmed his carte blanche support for Israel’s freedom of action.
As a Jewish newspaper reported on the 29th: ‘Tidings of comfort and joy were brought to Israel’s political leaders this week by Harold Wilson’. Mayhew’s contrary response was:
“Today it is widely recognised that the policies to whose support Mr Wilson committed himself and the British Labour Party were gravely mistaken and that they were the principal cause of the fresh outbreak of war in the Middle East in October 1973.”
The fiftieth anniversary of the affiliation of the organization Paole Zion to the Labour Party was held in September 1970. After the 1920 affiliation, Mayhew notes, ‘a steady stream of pro-Zionist questions began’, involving fraudulent propaganda that ‘greatly influenced generations of credulous Labour Party members’.
The 1970 dinner was presided over by the acting chairman of the Party, the Zionist Ian Mikardo. Mikardo attacked Ernest Bevin (an anti-Zionist and anti-Semite), the British Diplomatic Service, and the Arabs. Said Mikardo, Foreign Office officials were ‘public school boys who share with the Arabs a common tendency towards homosexuality, romanticism and enthusiasm for horses’.
Mayhew claims that the dinner probably marks the zenith of the Zionist influence. Yet the general account of Adams and Mayhew up to the time of the book’s publication highlights that nothing had changed within the Labour Party. Dissenters within the ranks were perennially howled down and abused by the Zionist chorus.
* * *
Adams and Mayhew note that the British media bore a heavy responsibility, through its partisanry and its silences, for the public’s impoverished understanding of the Middle East. Most British media Middle East correspondents were Jewish, and some outlets lazily employed Jewish Israeli residents who doubled as ‘reporters’.
In early 1968 Adams, in visiting the Middle East on invitation by the BBC, arranged with the Guardian that he would write some articles on the state of affairs in the occupied territories – then little known in Britain. Adams was appalled by what he found.
The Guardian published the initial articles, but its editor baulked at the last. It referred to the destruction of three villages (Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba) not far from Jerusalem, after the access road from Ramallah was cut, the rubble carted away and the remains ploughed over. Adams confirmed the details with the Israeli military. Not least because none of the rest of the media’s patsies had reported on the affair, the Guardian’s editor found Adams’ account unpalatable. That was the end of Adams’ 12-year relationship with the Guardian.
Some outlets were worse than others. The New Statesman was notable in its partisanry under ‘a succession of vehemently pro-Israeli editors (Kingsley Martin, Paul Johnson, Richard Crossman)’, until 1972; and The Economist under Alastair Burnet. Johnson was subsequently appointed by Harold Wilson to be a member of the 1974 Royal Commission on the Press.
The most influential of the ‘gentile Zionists’ in the early days was the Manchester Guardian. On Adams’ first visit to Jerusalem in 1956 he was surprised to have a distinguished Palestinian refer to his employer as ‘Ah, the Zionist paper’. Adams then discovered that C. P. Scott had ‘launched’ Chaim Weizmann into British political society, introducing Weizmann to Lloyd George and putting ‘the authority of The Manchester Guardian at the disposal of the cause of Zionism’. No doubt Jonathan Freedland, keeping the acrid flame alive, has a photo of Scott on his desk.
The BBC (both television and radio) was consistently partisan through these years. According to Mayhew, the pro-Israel bias was for the most part inbuilt and unconscious. Although management would perennially consciously cave in under pressure from the lobby.
To the media’s bias, the authors add disgust at the silence of the British churches on Israeli abuses, not least because they had representatives on the ground in Jerusalem. The authors lament, in particular, the long silence of the Church of England on the issue.
“The years of acquiescence in the Israeli fait accompli had cost the church any moral standing it might have had in the matter …”
* * *
Adams and Mayhew started Publish It Not in 1974. The text is written in hindsight following the October 1973 war. They note the relative military strength of the combatant Arab states, ‘surprising’, given the seeming invincibility of the Israeli military apparatus. They also note the atypical unity of the Arab states (with Saudi Arabia a late adherent), embodied in the oil embargo and price hike. The western media belatedly started to report Arab opinion.
From this environment the authors conclude:
“Israel’s capacity to survive without making far-reaching concessions, concessions which would severely modify the nature and potential of the Jewish state, seems very doubtful. So far, Israel has established herself, and expanded her territories, on the basis of her dominant military power. But since October 1973 the balance of power has shifted significantly against Israel and the shift seems likely to continue in the same direction.”
What a dramatically flawed prognosis! Still, they weren’t alone. They cite a contemporary, longtime journalist at The Times, (Jewish) David Spanier, 15 January 1974:
“All of a sudden it seems blindingly clear, not to all, but to many, who had somehow looked the other way, that the permanent relegation of large numbers of people as second-class citizens will bring the Zionist mission to an end and may threaten the state itself. According to some religious thinkers, far from the political arena, a policy based on occupation will ultimately corrupt the essential value of Judaism itself.”
And the aftermath? Some time ago, I unearthed a cache of Guardian Weeklys stretching over the years. Product of a hoarding mentality, their existence product of a pre-internet compulsory subscription by an antipodean colonial seeking non-provincial media exposure.
For example, late 2003, with respect to Israel. Well what do you know? Some representative headlines.
‘100,000 [Israelis remembering Yitzhak Rabin] gathered last weekend under banners denouncing occupation and demanding peace
‘A European Commission opinion poll that claims 60% of Europeans see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace has drawn outraged denunciations of anti-semitism
‘Israeli planes kill 10 people in wave of attacks on Gaza
‘The Israeli military has ordered thousands of Palestinians living near the steel and concrete ‘security fence’ that cuts through the West Bank to obtain special permits to live in their own homes
‘Rafah braced for more misery: Eight Palestinians dead and 1,500 homeless – but Israeli raids go on
‘Iran threat must be eliminated – US hawk
‘3,000 dead – yet peace remains elusive; three years of intifada
‘Bitter harvest in West Bank’s olive groves: Jewish settlers destroy fruit of centuries of toil to force out Palestinian villagers
‘Deep anxiety unsettles the Jewish community in France
Add countless letters to the Editor fueled by passion and disgust, emanating from both anti-Zionist and Zionist camps. You couldn’t make it up. Plus ça change!
That interpretative failure of Adams and Mayhew provides a significant lesson. One is forced to ask – why did their prediction so dramatically miss the trend of ensuing decades? Literally, many things have changed. But plus c’est la même chose. The more things have stayed the same. The dialectical evolution of thrust and counter thrust that produced a form of status quo has been inadequately documented and analyzed.
In culminating with the status quo, there has been non-stop turbulence. What? We have witnessed the annexation of the Golan, two invasions of Lebanon, the repression of two intifadas, the creeping appropriations of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the perennial ravaging of Gaza, the perennial murder of Palestinians and long term incarceration of Palestinians, the wilful repulsion of Gaza-bound maritime traffic, etc. The entrenchment of an apartheid state.
Israel has never fulfilled the conditions on which it was admitted into UN membership; it has ignored myriad UN resolutions, it has attacked UN infrastructure and personnel, and has just sent a racist extremist to the UN as ambassador. Israel retains privileged access to the crucial markets of the European Union. And, of course, this state with the reputed strength of Solomon sucks voraciously on the American taxpayer teat.
Israel continues to operate with complete impunity for its crimes.
* * *
Serendipitously, a second edition of Publish It Not was published in 2006 (Signal Books). It is a desirable read, both for the insight, courage, commitment yet sobriety of the prose of Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew, but also for the latter day complements. Jeremy Corbyn might profitably read it (for his sanity), if he has not already done so. The 2006 edition has three additions.
“It was only when I read Publish It Not … that I learned just how pervasive Zionist control of our media was and recognized the extent and effectiveness of its indoctrinating power. That was the moment that I changed my allegiance in this cause. It was the simple response of a man who awakened to the fact that he had been lied to.”
The Times Literary Supplement commissioned Tucker’s review, and the copy editor approved it. But the TLS editor pulled the plug (‘He doesn’t feel that the review is right for [us]’), instead publishing a dishonest Zionist review of the books. Exhibit A for the Adams/Mayhew narrative.
Two. There is an extended ‘testimony’ by Marion Woolfson of her experience as an honest reporter of Middle Eastern affairs. Woolfson’s experience is mentioned briefly by Mayhew in the 1975 text. But Woolfson’s account is harrowing.
Jewish, Woolfson moves to London following her husband’s death and visits her in-laws. She was informed over dinner that then Labour MP Christopher Mayhew was ‘evil, murderous, a Nazi and a terrible Jew-hater’. It was all downhill from then on.
Her media reports and letters lead to her being subject to (literally) non-stop harassment, brutalization, physical attacks. Endless letters and telephone calls calling her ‘a treacherous lying bitch’, receiving money from or sleeping with ‘filthy Arabs’, etc. She changes her number, made silent, but that number is readily made available to the harassers (!). The nature of the beast (in lieu of a local chapter of the vicious Jewish Defense League) deserves reproduction:
“Each evening … salesmen from a number of double-glazing firms would call and then throughout the night there would be a procession of taxis ‘to take me to the airport’. … Then lorries began arriving from early morning, laden with cement mixers, sand or gravel so that the narrow mews in which I lived was totally jammed and the lorry drivers … would be cursing. … Eventually I had to move out of my house until the harassment stopped. Not long after my return, I found a large swastika painted on my front gate. …
“Then, a huge rock was thrown through my large, plate-glass dining-room window with such force that it broke the wall opposite. … (There was a similar incident last year when the missile crashed through my bedroom window, at my present home, at 2 a.m. I tell myself that this was merely the action of a local hooligan.) Soon afterwards, a man called at my house. … A few days later … a man, who … had what looked like a metal cosh in his hand hit me on the forehead … [etc.]”
She is shut out of the media, prevented from plying her profession. She is ex-communicated from the bulk of the Jewish community. At least she should take heart from the experience of the valiant Spinoza.
Three. There is an extended foreword by longtime BBC journalist Tim Llewellyn. It is addressed specifically to the mis-judgment of Adams and Mayhew.
Llewellyn notes the changes. The Labour MP Zionist bully boys have gone. The public is far better informed, courtesy of considerable critical scholarly literature and daily internet exposés. The lies have been exposed as lies. The media acquired slightly more balance.
But the Parliamentary bully boys have been replaced by the trans-party ‘Friends of Israel’ cabals. Thus, for example, in September 2011, the Tory-Liberal Government moved to facilitate ready access of Israeli war criminals to British soil. And the public, no matter how better-informed, is ignored (witness the zero impact of the anti-Iraq invasion demonstrations). Since 2000, the BBC has backtracked, following 9/11, the second intifada, and Blair Labour’s relentless pressure for conformity. Add the organically pro-Israel Murdoch media (including The Times since 1981) and the Daily Telegraph.
More, the Zionist lobby is now better resourced, as powerful as ever. So-called representative national Jewish organizations, as in other countries, are first and foremost, pro-Israel lobby groups (have I missed a low-lying exception?). Claims Llewellyn:
“Since 1975, when the authors went into print, the official and institutional ranks of the Zionists in Britain have mounted and continue to mount campaigns of disinformation that dwarf their efforts of thirty and forty years ago. … the work goes on … not just in selling the Israeli package to the ordinary British people but also in changing the nature of British Jews’ perception of themselves and their relationship to Israel. Or, to put it another way, Israel’s alleged centrality to the life of a British Jew.”
As above, David Spanier was concerned that ‘a policy based on occupation will ultimately corrupt the essential value of Judaism itself’. Quite. The culturally unifying role of Judaism, in many families reduced to the conventionalized ritual of the Judaic calendar, has been displaced by the culturally unifying role of Israel. If less spiritual, a decidedly more muscular apparatus to be proud of (save for the hostility to this ersatz substitution by some Orthodox communities). And this even given that the majority of Jewry would never contemplate living there.
But the more does Israel perpetrate unsavory actions, the more does Israel need an effective propaganda machine. Llewelyn again, noting that the Americans arrived after 2000 to advise the British Israel Communications and Research Centre:
“The message was clear: be aggressive; pester and menace the media and the politicians in all their forms; go to court; never let up; let no adverse image or mention of Israel go unchallenged, however true, however perceived. In a word, the only story is our story: make sure everyone knows that.
“If Adams and Mayhew had been appalled at the Zionist intrusions they suffered in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, they would have been paralysed by the sheer aggression of the Zionist movement here, especially concerning the media after 2000 and the success it achieved with its tactics …”
Thus the Zionist messiah, political version, is now made flesh. But in its nurturing of human nature at its worst, it requires a most unholy propaganda and lobbying edifice to keep its yet incomplete pursuit of purity of spirit on track. The exercise, with its inevitable criminality, is fundamentally dependent upon the ‘dual loyalty’ (singular?) of the so-called Diaspora. And woe to the ‘self-hating’ Jews who dissent from the rule, saying ‘not in my name’.
In short, tribalism trumps reason, humanity and moral integrity. Can the evidence allow any other inference? Reason, humanity and moral integrity aside, what a brilliant success story.
* * *
Of the propaganda armory, the very rusty ‘anti-Semitism’ sword is still being brandished, and still to good effect. Here is Adams and Mayhew on the long silence of the churches:
“Nor was the situation any better in other western countries: the damaging accusation of anti-Semitism was held like a sword over the head of anyone rash enough to criticise Israel, from a moral or a spiritual standpoint, as from a political one.”
And Llewellyn on the BBC as highly-exposed public broadcaster:
“In institutional broadcasting there is a climate of fear. Executives do not like to be accused of anti-Semitism, which is the ready-to-hand smear the Zionists and their friends have available if they think Israel is receiving a bad press.”
It’s staggering to think that this canard still carries leverage, not least because it shits on the substantive anti-Semitism that has been central to the Jewish experience for centuries.
Thus the pro-Palestinian Jeremy Corbyn is naturally a target of this trusty weapon. Frankly, I don’t like his chances. If he manages to transcend the slur and its baggage, it will be a new day.
On the subject of this crime by Zionism against Jewry itself, one is perennially drawn to the stance of the philosopher Michael Neumann, outlined in Cockburn and St. Clair’s 2003 The Politics of Anti-Semitism. Neumann notes that definitional inflation cheapens the currency. (One might add that, as in Gresham’s Law in economics, ‘bad money drives out good’.)
With respect to the growth of Arab anti-Semitism, Neumann notes:
“… its chief cause is not anti-Semitic propaganda but the decades’ old (sic), systematic and unrelenting efforts of Israel to implicate all Jews in its crimes.”
Is opposition to the settlements (the Jews’ claimed historic right to Eretz Israel?) anti-Semitic? Claims Neumann:
“… since we are obliged to oppose the settlements, we are obliged to be anti-Semitic. Through definitional inflation, some form of anti-Semitism becomes morally obligatory.
“… anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is a moral obligation.”
The Zionist armory, if one can be excused a mixed metaphor, has no clothes. It is long overdue that Zionism and its incarnation in the state of Israel be subject to the supposedly universal standards of reason, humanity and moral integrity.
Protests about the lack of proper city sanitation services have quickly escalated into full-blown calls for regime change.
Lebanese protesters demonstrated in Beirut this weekend as part of the “You Stink” movement, which was organized by citizens fed up with the garbage that had been piling up in their streets for weeks.
What began as an expression of legitimate grievances, however, quickly spiraled into the world’s latest Color Revolution attempt.
Some radical youth started throwing rocks and petrol bombs at police officers (uncannily reminiscent of the earlier hijacking of the peaceful-intentioned “Electric Yerevan” protests), which resulted in a forceful counter-response that was then immediately used to ‘justify’ the movement’s transformation into one of open regime change ends.
The thing is, however, Lebanon doesn’t really have a functioning government to begin with, having been without a President for over a year. If the Prime Minister steps down as he threatened to do, then it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis that might bring the formerly civil war-torn and multi-confessional state back to the brink of domestic conflict.
Any significant destabilization in Lebanon is bound to have a serious impact on Syria, which would be put in a difficult position by the potential cutoff of the strategic Beirut-to-Damascus highway and the possible redeployment of valuable Hezbollah fighters back to their homeland.
A Little About Lebanon
The tiny Middle Eastern state of about four and a half million people is marked by a demographic and political complexity that could hinder a speedy resolution to the current crisis. It’s necessary to be aware of some of its specifics in order to better understand the origins of the current stalemate and where it might rapidly be headed.
Unilaterally sliced out of Syria during the early years of the French mandate, the territory of Lebanon hails what is generally recognized as the most diverse population in the Mideast. Eighteen religious groups are recognized in the country’s constitution, including Alawites, Druze, Maronite Catholics, Sunnis, and Shiites.
This eclecticism of religious communities is presided over by something referred to as the National Pact, an unwritten understanding that the President will always be Maronite, the Prime Minister will be Sunni, and the Speaker of Parliament will be Shiite, among other stipulations (and with a few historical exceptions).
Complementary to this concept is the country’s unique political system called confessionalism, whereby Christians and Muslims share equal seats in the unicameral parliament, but each group’s respective composition is determined proportionally by sect. Originally meant to be a temporary solution when it was first enacted in the 1920s, it was later refined by the 1989 Taif Agreement that ended the lengthy civil war and has remained in place to this day.
Crawling To A Crisis
The current crisis in Lebanon was long in the making, and it’s the result of many embedded problems that spilled over with the garbage protests. The economy has always been fragile, in that it’s highly dependent on tourism and banking – hardly the prerequisites for a stable system.
The overwhelming influx of over 1 million Syrian refugees over the past couple of years (on top of the nearly half a million Palestinian ones already present in the country) contributed to the country’s economic malaise, with the International Labor Organization quoting a 34% unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15-24. It’s thus of no surprise then that there were plenty of disaffected young people eager and available to protest when the “You Stink” opportunity finally arose.
Lebanon’s economic troubles have been exacerbated by its enormously high debt-to-GDP ratio that has the dubious honor of being one of the world’s worst at 143%. It’s of such magnitude that Prime Minister Tammam Salam just announced that the government might not be able to pay salaries next month.
This economic dysfunction persists despite the discovery of large amounts of offshore oil and gas that have yet to be extracted. Part of the reason for this is that the country is in the midst of a political impasse stemming from parliament’s inability to agree upon a new president after the former one finished his term in May 2014.
Since the president appoints the prime minister, if Salam resigns like he threatened to do if Thursday’s upcoming Cabinet meeting yields no results, then the country would enter completely uncharted territory that might prompt more pronounced unrest and guarantee a period of heightened uncertainty.
The arrangement of political forces is thus that two men have the possibility to be president – Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea. Each represents one of the two main trans-religious political coalitions, the 8 March Alliance and the 14 March Alliance, respectively, and both want parliament to end its impasse as soon as possible.
Their similarities end there, however, since Aoun is in an alliance with multipolar-oriented Hezbollah, while Geagea is closely tied to former Prime Minister and dual Lebanese-Saudi billionaire powerbroker Saad Hariri.
Wikileaks’ latest releases from the Saudi Foreign Ministry prove that Hariri still has intimate contacts with the Saudi royal family and intelligence services, and that Geagea once begged the kingdom to bankroll his party’s finances. Therefore, although the presidency itself is largely ceremonial, it’s the diametrically competing visions of these two parties and the potential for street clashes between their supporters during the Color Revolution tumult that creates serious concern about Lebanon’s future, and consequently, could be expected to have negative repercussions for Syria.
The regional backdrop in which all of this occurs is that the US and its allies are in a ‘race to the finish’ to ‘win’ their various Mideast wars before the tens of billions of dollars of frozen Iranian funds are returned to Tehran, which would then partially disseminate it to its regional allies Hezbollah and Syria.
Additionally, Russia has made remarkable diplomatic progress in trying to reconcile all sides in Syria and assemble a coordinated anti-ISIL coalition, raising the US’ fears that its window of ‘opportunity’ for accomplishing regime change there may unexpectedly be drawing to a close.
It’s thus under these conditions that the organic protests in Beirut were almost immediately hijacked by radical Color Revolutionaries in order to create chaos along Syria’s western border.
The intent behind the calculated state collapse being attempted at the moment in Lebanon is to disrupt the Beirut-to-Damascus highway that serves as one of the two main lifelines to the Syrian capital, the other being the Damascus-to-Latakia highway. Shutting down the Lebanese route would make Syria wholly dependent on the Latakian one that’s vulnerable to an “Army of Conquest” offensive, which if successful, would cripple the country by de-facto blockading the capital.
At the same time, in the event that Beirut reaches its breaking point, some Hezbollah units currently deployed to Syria would be compelled to return back to the home front to assist in the inevitable power struggle there. The withdrawal of part (or all) of this valuable fighting contingent would make the military situation much more difficult for the Syrian Arab Army, both in defending the Damascus-to-Latakia corridor and in securing the Lebanese border from becoming a ‘second Turkey’ of terrorist infiltration.
Conclusively, it’s for these strategic reasons why it strongly appears that externally directed forces were ordered to exploit Lebanon’s existing tensions at this specific time. They engineered a Color Revolution attempt by using the “You Stink” protests as a semi-plausible cover, and this was timed to coincide with the ‘race to the finish’ being played out all across the Mideast.
Lebanon can still pull away from the brink, provided that Thursday’s upcoming Cabinet meeting resolves the presidential crisis and placates the country’s main political parties, but it will have to tread very carefully in containing sectarian temptations and avoiding the trap of escalatory Color Revolution provocations.
From Regional War, “Regime Change” to Global Warfare
2015 has become a year of living dangerously.
Wars are spreading across the globe.
Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity.
Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.
These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.
There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders. Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.
Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia: NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China. Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?
Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts
There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts. Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.
The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops. There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.
Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies. On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists – funded by the monarchist Gulf States.
Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.
Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.
The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.
The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses. Major cities and towns are devastated. Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians. The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.
The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets. Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.
The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands. They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.
Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.
Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.
Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent. Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.
Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.
Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.
Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.
There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client. Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role
The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria. The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.
Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.
US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.
There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps. It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up. The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.
The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.
The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat. US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.
As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops. The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.
Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties. These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.
In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.
Latin America – On the Verge
Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.
In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes. In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa. They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.
The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.
‘Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading. Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups – to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.
War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America. A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras. The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.
The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies. This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis. The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.
The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico. Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.
The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords. The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives. After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!
From Regional to Nuclear Wars
Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war. The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.
Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.
Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.
In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor. It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.
Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe. The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine. In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.
In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria. In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia. The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.
Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.
Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees
The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.
Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.
Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.
Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.
Droves of refugees perish each day. Tens of thousands crowd detention centers. Local labor markets are saturated. Social services are overwhelmed.
The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.
As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply. The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.
Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.
Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire. The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.
The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses. US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…
War is everywhere and expanding: No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.
Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle. There are no real diplomatic success stories! There are no enduring, viable peace accords!
Some pundits may protest this analysis: They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’. They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China. The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.
Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’. They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US [Israel] and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.
As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements– are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?
The war epidemic is not receding.
War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.
Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.
Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.
Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them. They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them. Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.
What a packet of lies! Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
It is time to wake up!
It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!
Where to start? Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there! Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame. We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing! Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!
Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune? And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them! As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US? We lead them by the nose…!”
Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.
What is to be done?
When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?
Sir John Chilcot fears a legal onslaught from those who are sharply criticized in his Iraq War Inquiry report and is refusing to be pressured into setting a concrete deadline for its release, a source familiar with the inquiry says.
Chilcot has refused to issue a precise timetable for publishing the report until all those whose actions are examined in its pages are given an opportunity to respond.
In the face of increasing pressure from Downing Street, reports surfaced on Thursday that the ex-civil servant and his panel considered resigning following what they perceive as unjust criticism.
However, a spokesperson for the panel later insisted resignations are not on the table.
Chilcot’s report, which is believed to total more than a million words, was initiated in 2009 and last took evidence in 2011.
The Privy Councilor, who headed the inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq War, had previously hinted delays were due to the ‘Maxwellization’ process, which offers those criticized an opportunity to respond to allegations levelled against them. He has been sharply criticized for failing to follow the example of other inquiry chiefs by issuing firm deadlines.
Senior legal figures say Chilcot could potentially sanction parties who are delaying the report’s release by threatening to reveal their identities in the final draft. But the inquiry chief stated in July he did not believe anyone had “taken an unreasonable length of time to respond.”
The head of Britain’s armed forces is expected to be among those criticized in Chilcot’s report over his conduct during the Iraq War.
General Sir Nicholas Houghton, who serves as Prime Minister David Cameron’s top military adviser, is among a slew of senior commanders to face criticism in the report.
Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn says he will publicly apologize for the Iraq War on behalf of the party if he becomes leader in September.
Corbyn confirmed to the Guardian on Friday that he would apologize to Britons for Labour’s “deception” in the run-up to the 2003 invasion. He also pledged to apologize to Iraqis for the suffering they in incurred in the 8-year war that followed.
Observers say such an apology would be a watershed moment for Labour, and would mark a significant departure from its foreign policy trajectory in recent years.
Chilcot was publicly criticized by retired High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss on Tuesday over the extensive delay to the publication of his report.
Butler-Sloss said she was frustrated the report had not been published while bereaved families await answers as to why Britain went to war.
Her intervention came a day after Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper said Britain must not pursue further military action against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) until Chilcot’s report is published.
Families of British troops killed during the Iraq war have launched a legal battle to force Chilcot to publish the findings. The relatives of deceased servicemen say the delay is “morally reprehensible.”
Draft reports of the inquiry’s findings rattled the British establishment in December, with senior Whitehall officials battling to sanitize its conclusions. Excerpts from the report, some of which are hundreds of pages long, were sent to those whose conduct during the conflict is under scrutiny.
One well-informed source told the Times the report’s findings are far more scathing than expected, and had sparked a legal firestorm.
Analysts also warned in 2014 that the omission of potentially crucial correspondence between former Prime Minister Tony Blair and ex-US President George W. Bush raised questions over the Chilcot inquiry’s legitimacy. They expressed specific concern over a culture of secrecy in Britain’s defense and security service establishment.
Senior figures central to the Chilcot inquiry, including Blair, are expected have their legal fees paid by British taxpayers. Expert analysis suggests the cost of the inquiry could surpass £11 million (US$17.25 million).
In this episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann explores the origin of ISIS that has already been long forgotten by American media. Swann takes on the central issue of whether or not ISIS was created by “inaction” by the United States government or by “direct” action.
A senior Iranian lawmaker has slammed recent remarks by a top US military commander on Iraq’s disintegration, saying Washington seeks to break down the entire Middle East.
“The US has created Daesh based on a calculated scheme in order to realize the Greater Middle East plan and disintegrate the region. That’s why the Americans are bringing up the issue of Iraq’s disintegration,” Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis), said on Sunday.
The Iranian lawmaker’s remarks came after US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno, who once served as the top US commander in Iraq, said on August 12 that partitioning Iraq “is something that could happen” and “might be the only solution.”
The remarks came as a controversial US Congress bill, the draft of which was released in April, proposes the division of Iraq into three states and allows the Kurdish forces and the Sunni tribesmen to be armed directly without Baghdad’s approval.
The bill stipulates that 25 to 60 percent of the USD 715-million aid money allegedly allocated to Iraq in its war against Daesh will be directly supplied to Sunni and Kurdish forces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi strongly condemned the comments by the top US military commander as “irresponsible,” saying they reflected “ignorance of the Iraqi reality.”
Iraqi politicians, including members of the parliament, as well as religious leaders have also voiced their opposition to the bill.
Syria no-fly zone
Elsewhere in his remarks, Boroujerdi said that Turkey’s pushing for a no-fly zone over Syria is a “strategic mistake” for Ankara.
He said that the move is a violation of international law as well as sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country.
“Turkey is expected to adopt a policy that will contribute to regional stability and security, not [one that will] lead to instability in the region,” he added.
Turkey has been pushing for a no-fly zone over northern Syria, claiming that such a buffer zone could protect Ankara from Syrian airstrikes against foreign-backed militants.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview last week that he would work with the US to establish what he called a “safe area,” claiming that the buffer zone would protect civilians.
The US has not given the official go-ahead for the plan yet.
Thanks to the Iran nuclear deal, something remarkable is happening in American politics: the irreconcilable conflict of interest between most Americans on one side and Israel and its American supporters on the other is on full display and impossible to ignore. In the past the conflict could be papered over with grand empty rhetoric about the two sides being in “lock-step” and the absence of “daylight” between them. But no more. The conflict is out in the open where everyone can see it. Iran should be thanked for this valuable service.
War with Iran would be a catastrophe not only for the Iranians, including thousands of Jewish Iranians who openly practice their religion in their ancient community, and other people in the Middle East; it would also be a catastrophe for Americans — hence the conflict of interest between most Americans and the war party. Those, like Tom Cotton, Norman Podhoretz, Bill Kristol, and John Bolton, who think an attack on Iran would be a cakewalk, are either liars or fools. These are the same people, of course, who said the Iraq war would be easy and would usher in a new liberal Middle East. The result has been unspeakable sectarian violence throughout the region, culminating in the Islamic State and a reinvigorated al-Qaeda.
Despite the predictable catastrophe a war with Iran would bring, Israel and its staunchest, most prominent American supporters are conducting a well-financed campaign against the Iran nuclear deal that would surely lead to that war if a Republican wins the presidency next year. In fact, they want war because only war (followed by regime change) would give Israel and its American supporters what they want: unrivaled dominance in the Middle East, which among other things would relieve the pressure to make a just peace with the Palestinians at least by leaving the occupied territories.
Let’s acknowledge that most Jewish Americans favor the nuclear deal and do not want war with Iran; in fact, many Jews feel little or no connection to Israel at all. But that must not obscure the fact that the Israeli government, which was recently returned to power by the Israeli people, and the richest, best-organized Jewish American groups — AIPAC and the rest of the Israel/Jewish Lobby — lead the opposition to the deal and the neoconservative coalition in favor of war. (This is not to overlook the prominent non-Jewish members of the coalition.) They feign offense at being called warmongers, but they know that the kind of deal they favor would require Iran to fully capitulate to the United States and Israel, demands which go beyond nuclear questions, and surrender its sovereignty. Such a deal could never be reached, and the war hawks know it. They ought to be honest enough to admit that war is what they want. (Some neoconservatives, Jews and non-Jews, are honest enough, including Bolton, Podhoretz, Cotton, Kristol and Joshua Muravchik.)
What’s noteworthy is that both sides of the divide have taken the gloves off. We had Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom former Meet the Press host David Gregory once called “the leader of the Jewish people,” invited to speak before Congress for the sole purpose of undercutting President Obama’s efforts to engage in diplomacy with Iran. We had senators doing the bidding of Israel and the Lobby by writing to the leader of Iran to tell him no agreement would be long-lasting. And most recently we had Netanyahu, in an unprecedented display, openly urging Jewish Americans to oppose the deal with Iran: “The days when the Jewish people could not or would not speak up for themselves, those days are over,” he said in a webcast to 10,000 Jewish American activists arranged by the Jewish Federations throughout North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Are Jewish Americans supposed to see Netanyahu as their leader? (Not that I think they should see Obama as their leader.) Netanyahu apparently thinks so, and prominent Jewish Americans seem to agree. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is Jewish, has courageously condemned this “arrogant” pretense. (Recall that Netanyahu has told Western Jews that they are welcome to “return” to Israel — even those who have never been there — to escape the dangers in their countries. Thus he embraces the pernicious Zionist doctrine, shared by anti-Semites, that Jews ultimately are aliens everywhere except in Israel.)
Obama, on the other hand, has finally been willing to openly identify the source of hawkish anti-Iranian pressure: Israel and its American supporters, especially prominent and well-organized Jewish Americans and non-Jews who kowtow to win their political and financial support.
“Because this is such a strong deal,” Obama said, “every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.” He also said, “Between now and the congressional vote in September, you’re going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal, backed by tens of millions of dollars in advertising. And if the rhetoric in these ads, and the accompanying commentary, sounds familiar, it should — for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.”
Everyone knows, first, that the major push for the war against Iraq came from Israel and the Lobby, supported by the neocon devotees of Israel’s agenda, and, second, that the multimillion-dollar ad campaign against the Iran deal is run by an AIPAC-related group, Citizens for Nuclear Free Iran, and United Against Nuclear Iran, led by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and financed by wealthy casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who makes no secret of his Israel-first sentiment.
But we shouldn’t overstate Obama’s willingness to identify the malign influence on American foreign policy that emanates from Israel, its Lobby, and the neocons in general. He also said:
When the Israeli government is opposed to something, people in the United States take notice. And they should. No one can blame Israelis for having a deep skepticism about any dealings with a government like Iran’s — which includes leaders who have denied the Holocaust, embrace an ideology of anti-Semitism, facilitate the flow of rockets that are arrayed on Israel’s borders, are pointed at Tel Aviv. In such a dangerous neighborhood, Israel has to be vigilant, and it rightly insists that it cannot depend on any other country — even its great friend the United States — for its own security. So we have to take seriously concerns in Israel.
Note that he did not mention Israel’s large, invulnerable nuclear arsenal. Israel is the nuclear monopolist in the Middle East and has been since the 1960s, thanks to the connivance of its American supporters inside and outside of government. In the context of Iran’s potential for obtaining a nuclear weapon, wouldn’t you think that fact is relevant? Why do establishment politicians and the mainstream news media hardly ever mention it? Moreover, the rockets that threaten Israelis come from people whom Zionist militias drove off their land in 1948 in a far-reaching ethnic-cleansing campaign and who are now routinely threatened and oppressed: the Palestinians in the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip, target of savage air wars and a years-long blockade, and the people of southern Lebanon, whom Israel has attacked repeatedly and occupied over the years.
Note also that Obama accepts the premise that Iran aspires to be a nuclear power, a proposition for which there is zero evidence and against which there is abundant evidence.
Nevertheless, to his credit, Obama did say,
As President of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.
It’s not every day that an American president acknowledges that, whatever his job is, it is not to serve the interests of Israel’s racist ruling elite and population. That is indeed good to hear, but it would be news to the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal editorial page, among others.
Israel’s American partisans have predictably accused their opponents of anti-Semitism for focusing on Jewish attempts to kill the Iran agreement, hoping Americans will believe that criticism of Israel and the Lobby in itself constitutes bigotry, if not Nazi sympathies. (Mike Huckabee’s claim that Obama is leading the Israelis to the ovens is only the most obnoxious example.) But taking offense at the focus on Jewish efforts is a cynical ploy void of legitimacy. Israel bills itself The Jewish State, representing Jewish interests worldwide. The Lobby embraces that designation. (Not all Jews regard Israel as The Jewish State, however. Jewish anti-Zionism, which dates back to before Theodor Herzl’s time, thrives today.) AIPAC boasts of its political clout and its command of vast resources that can make or break political careers. An AIPAC official, asked if the Lobby had lost influence after a scandal, once famously boasted to a journalist over dinner, “You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”
In light of all this, it’s a little absurd to object to the identification of Israel with Jews or to rail against those who point out the obvious: that Israel and its Jewish American partisans have been at the forefront of the campaign for war against Muslim nations. As Chemi Shalev, writing in the Israeli daily Haaretz, put it:
Netanyahu is allowed to address 10,000 American Jewish leaders and activists from Jerusalem, but mentioning their faith is forbidden; he is allowed to be the sole foreign leader to openly campaign against the deal, but singling him out is verboten; AIPAC can raise emergency funds, cancel all vacations and send its lobbyists to canvass on Capitol Hill, but say the words “lobby” or “money” and you are quickly branded a bigot; [Sen. Chuck] Schumer can famously boast that he sees himself as a Shomer [guardian of] Israel but you won’t dare say that when he seems to live up to his promise.
Moreover, how absurd is it for Israel’s partisans to accuse critics of raising the dual-loyalty issue, which these days sounds rather antiquated? Did anti-Semites put Netanyahu up to his machinations? Did they sponsor the trip to Israel for over 50 members of Congress just as debate over the Iran deal was starting?
Do not misunderstand: Israelis and Israel’s Jewish American partisans are not promoting war with Iran because they embrace Judaism, the Torah, and the Prophets. Many of Israel’s Jewish American supporters are secular and even atheist, and many observant Jews oppose war with Iran, support the nuclear deal, and hate Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians. What motivates many Israelis and Israel’s Jewish American partisans has little if anything to do with Judaism. Rather, they are motivated by an essentially secular ideology and parochial identity politics — Gilad Atzmon calls it “Jewishness” to distinguish it from Judaism — that prioritizes the interests of the tribe. These Jews judge issues by the standard “Is it good for the Jews?” (as they see the good). This chosen-people framework is anti-liberal and anti-universal, featuring ubiquitous enemies and impending doom. One might think this attitude is understandable in light of the history of persecution of Jews, culminating in the Nazi Judeocide. But since this ideology fuels the persecution, oppression, and slaughter of innocent others, rather than extra sensitivity to injustice no matter who the victim, we cannot be so forgiving. Nothing in Jewish history can justify how self-identified Jews have treated the Palestinians, or American Jewish support for, or acquiescence in, that treatment. Israel faces no “existential threat” from Iran or anyone else. If that treatment is an application of Jewish values, then Americans should take note. If it is not, then in what sense is Israel The Jewish State?
Whether this ideology has roots in Judaic doctrine and tradition or whether it is a modern secular phenomenon is a complicated question. But people ought to see it for what it is — before we are dragged into another catastrophic war.
Finally, Israel’s Jewish American partisans warn that criticizing the campaign against the Iran deal risks reinforcing stereotypes and inflaming anti-Semitism (even if in itself it does not constitute anti-Semitism). Almost anything anyone says about anyone else could be exploited by bigots, so that is no reason to withhold valid criticism. But if Israel’s partisans genuinely fear an anti-Semitic backlash — which all decent people would condemn as bigoted collectivism — perhaps they should reconsider their campaign to provoke an American/Israeli war of aggression against Iran.